The Best Small Cities to Start a Business in the US


On Tuesday’s Price of Business I am discussing a new study by WalletHub about the best small cities in the United States to start a small business.  Really, there were not many surprised on the list.  The vast majority come from states with friendly tax laws, fewer regulations, and less labor issues.

With National Small Business Week approaching and sweeping corporate tax reform recently signed into law, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2018’s Best Small Cities to Start a Business.

To determine the most business-friendly small markets in the U.S., WalletHub compared more than 1,200 small-sized cities across 18 key metrics. The data set ranges from average growth in number of small businesses to investor access to labor costs.

Top 20 Small Cities to Start a Business
1. Holland, MI 11. Enid, OK
2. St. George, UT 12. Bountiful, UT
3. Aberdeen, SD 13. Salisbury, NC
4. Wilson, NC 14. Springville, UT
5. Cheyenne, WY 15. Sanford, NC
6. Clearfield, UT 16. Brighton, NY
7 Ogden, UT 17. Shawnee, OK
8. Bismarck, ND 18. LaGrange, GA
9. Bozeman, MT 19. Midvale, UT
10. Fort Myers, FL 20. Bowling Green, KY

Best vs. Worst

  • Bend and Redmond, Ore., have the highest number of startups per 100,000 residents, 273.40, which is 9.3 times higher than in Salisbury, Md., the city with the lowest at 29.48.
  • Wellesley, Mass., has the highest share of the population with at least a bachelor’s degree, 83.8 percent, which is 25.4 times higher than in Coachella, Calif., the city with the lowest at 3.3 percent.
  • Kentwood, Mich., has the most affordable office spaces, at an annual rate of $9.06 per square foot, which is 6.8 times lower than in Mountain View, Calif., the city with the least affordable at an annual rate of $61.85 per square foot.
  • Carbondale, Ill., has the lowest labor costs (median annual income), $19,515, which is 9.7 times lower than in McLean, Va., the city with the highest at $190,258.
  • Fort Hood, Texas, has the longest work week, 49.3 hours on average, which is 1.7 times longer than in East Lansing, Mich., the city with the shortest at an average of 28.4 hours.

To view the full report and your city’s rank, please visit:

A couple of surprises on the list are cities from Michigan and New York.  However, Michigan has aggressively worked to change its tax and regulatory environment to be pro-business over the last several years, even adopting Right to Work legislation.